Recently, in February of 2010, the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky heard a case regarding unpaid overtime and nonpayment of wages for travel time. (See Bassett v. Tennessee Valley Authority, 2010 WL 716094 (W.D.Ky.)). In Bassett the Plaintiff worked on a dredging crew from 1987 to 2008. Id. Plaintiff was paid overtime for time he spent traveling to and from work sites and was also given a per diem amount for each day he worked on an outside location. Id. But, if he chose to travel away from the remote work site on a day off, the Defendant did not provide per diem or compensation for what Defendant considered “voluntary travel time.” Id. Thus, Plaintiff has sued Defendant to “recover compensation for time spent in travel on his days off. Plaintiff would travel home on the weekends when he was working at a remote site. He was compensated for his mileage to travel home and back to the work site, but not for the time spent in travel.” Id.
The Fair Labor Standards Act required employers to pay overtime to employees who work in excess of 40 hours. Id. Under the Portal-to-Portal Act of 1947, an employer may be liable for travel if the employer has agreed to compensation under “an express provision of a written or non-written contract in effect, at the time of such activity…” id. The Plaintiff and Defendant had such a contract in effect. But, Defendant points out that “liability exists only if the travel time is considered “work” under the FLSA. Id. And that is only compensated if it is ‘integral and indispensable to the principal activity.’ Id. “Normal travel from home to work is not work time.” Id. This is exactly what Louisville overtime lawyer Andrew Alitowski could explain to you.
The Court noted that the present case was a little different than the average case in that it dealt with ordinary home to work travel that was from remote locations where if the Plaintiff did not decided to spend at this remote location, he would have had to sleep away from home. The Court did note that “travel at the employee’s own option and for his or her sole convenience need not be considered hours worked under the FLSA.” Id.
Thus, on Defendant’s motion to dismiss, the Court denied the motion because it held that there was a genuine issue of material fact as to “whether Plaintiff’s travels home while working at remote locations were voluntary.” Id. The Court did note that “in determining whether Plaintiff’s travel was voluntary or not, the true issue is whether Defendant offered to pay employees’ living expenses while they were at remote work sites on non-working days, and whether Plaintiff and other employees were aware of that option. If such an option existed and was made known to employees, then the travel time spent driving home from remote work sites could only be classified as “voluntary,” and Plaintiff would not be entitled to compensation. If, however, Defendant never offered a per diem to its employees on non-working days, or such a policy existed but was never made known to employees, Plaintiff may be entitled to compensation for the “required” travel time home.” Id. Plaintiff and Defendant disagree strongly on this point.
Thus, if you are a Louisville Overtime worker and have a question as to whether your transportation or travel time should be compensated, contact a Louisville overtime lawyer.
If you have been the subject of Louisville Overtime Travel Non-payment of wages, please call and speak to a Louisville overtime travel lawyer at the Law Offices of Andrew S. Alitowski at 888-ASK-ANDREW (275-2637) or contact us online. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
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